HomeChampions LeagueLuis Enrique: I embody Barcelona better than Xavi

Luis Enrique: I embody Barcelona better than Xavi


Luis Enrique says he, and not Xavi, better embodies the philosophy of Barcelona.

The pair will meet as coaches for the first time tomorrow night when Luis Enrique’s Paris Saint-Germain host Xavi’s Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

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Barca have not won Europe’s elite club competition since 2015 when Luis Enrique was coach and an ageing Xavi came off the bench late on for the Blaugrana in their 3-1 win over Juventus in Berlin.

And even though Xavi was brought up at La Masia – Barca’s famed school for educating young players – the PSG boss believes his record of nine trophies in three seasons compared to Xavi’s two gives him the edge.

Asked today who best represented the spirit of Barca, an unusually forthright Luis Enrique told reporters: “No doubt me.

“I’m not just saying it. You can see the data: possession of the ball, goals, pressure, titles, trophies. Obviously others think differently but no doubt, I am the one who best represents Barça.”

Luis Enrique played down suggestions his knowledge of the Catalan giants would give PSG an advantage at the Parc des Princes.

He added: “I don’t know Xavi as a coach, only as a team-mate. I know the club and the players very well, but I don’t know if that constitutes an advantage.

“On an emotional level, it’s a great experience, but I feel ready. It’s a job: you have to be professional. I like Barça but I think of my team above all. I think both teams will try to press and keep possession.”

The Champions League remains the Holy Grail for PSG, who have never won the competition despite huge investment from the club’s Qatari owners.

Luis Enrique said: “I think the group is in a good state of mind. This is a good period for us. We don’t feel any pressure, more ambition.

“We are very excited about qualifying for the next round. The enthusiasm of the team is the main feeling. We want to play and beat Barça.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.


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